Yoga Nidra for Stress and Anxiety Relief: New Scientific Study


The yoga tradition has long emphasized the rejuvenating and transformative power of yoga nidra, also known as "yogic sleep". This methodical practice combines relaxation and meditation to positively impact one’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being in profound ways.

Traditionally practiced lying down, a session of yoga nidra varies in duration, ranging from brief 2-minute exercises to longer 45-minute meditations. During these sessions, practitioners guide their awareness throughout the body, progressively releasing any tensions in the mind, body or emotions. Though inherently relaxing, yoga nidra isn’t solely focused on relaxation. As yoga teacher, Rolf Sovik elucidates:

“Yoga nidra is not simply a practice of relaxation, although it involves relaxation, but it's something more than that. And it's something that, with practice, leads to a deep understanding of who you are as a physical, emotional, and mental being.” 

While the deeper benefits of yoga nidra can be experienced and realized through consistent practice, in recent times, yoga nidra has been gaining mainstream momentum as a scientifically backed approach to rest and relaxation.

The impact of yoga nidra on mental health

Modern science is now validating the effectiveness of this powerful yogic practice. One research study found yoga nidra to be an effective tool for reducing anxiety and improving mental health.

In this study, sixty college professors, men and women, aged between 30 and 55 years were randomly split into three groups. One group practiced yoga nidra, another practiced seated meditation, and the last served as a control group.

Over a span of three months, the professors underwent evaluation for psychological factors such as anxiety, stress, and depression.

While participants in both the yoga nidra and seated meditation groups demonstrated a reduction in anxiety and stress levels, the researchers found “there was a tendency toward a greater effectiveness of the yoga nidra intervention regarding anxiety.”

Although yoga nidra has been shown to be an effective therapeutic approach to working with the cognitive and physiological symptoms of stress and anxiety, the benefits don’t stop there.

A robust collection of scientific research can be found on the benefits of yoga nidra to enhance creativity, improve sleep quality and memory, and promote positive physiological changes in red blood cell counts, blood glucose levels, and hormonal status.

Yoga Nidra in Practice

Feel the benefits for yourself! Simply lie down and listen as one of our seasoned teachers guides you through the deeply nourishing and transformative experience of yoga nidra.

We've compiled our most popular yoga nidra practices for you below.

Yoga Nidra for Stress Reduction (15 Min) Prepare the body for deep rest in this guided relaxation practice of yoga nidra. Find a comfortable place to lie down for a physical tension release practice followed by yoga nidra meditation.

Deep Rest and Relaxation (27 Min) Join Hilary for an all-levels guided yoga nidra that’s designed to promote deep rest and relaxation so that you feel refreshed in the morning. Get cozy in a comfortable space (you could do this practice from bed) and enjoy.

Soothe Anxious Times (15 Min) Lie on your back, get comfortable, and listen to guidance through this deeply restful practice designed to soothe anxiety.

Yoga Nidra 45-Minute Practice (45 Min) Feeling stressed? Yoga nidra (yogic sleep) uses a series of body, breath, and awareness techniques that allow the body to restore itself. Try this deeply restorative practice to relieve stress and release the body’s innate healing potential.

Want to learn more about yoga nidra? Listen to ParaYoga founder, Rod Stryker’s, comprehensive explanation of what yoga nidra is. You’ll learn common misconceptions surrounding the practice, as well as the five goals of yoga nidra and tips to support your practice.

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Yoga International
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